Why Are BMW Oil Changes So Expensive? + How You Can Spend Less

Updated: | Author: Steve Freling | Affiliate links may be present.

Part of owning a luxury car is paying luxury car maintenance prices. BMW is no different. Expect to pay at the mechanic for your BMW oil change. Why are these oil changes so expensive? How much does it cost? Can you change your BMW’s oil yourself?

BMWs can be expensive to maintain and repair. A motor oil change for a BMW is typically $150-$400 per change. BMWs require a high-performance, synthetic oil, a special BMW oil filter, and maintenance with a BMW certified technician at a BMW repair shop.

Why Does It Cost So Much to Get an Oil Change for a BMW?

BMWs require high-performance, synthetic oil, such as Liqui-Moly Synthoil Race Tech 10W-60. This specialized motor oil costs around four times as much as regular motor oil if you buy it yourself. A BMW shop will typically charge more for parts and materials when they change your oil.

The other cost consideration is the labor charges. BMW certified technicians go through extra training in order to be able to work on BMWs. As a result, their labor charges are higher per hour.

Typically, depending on location, a BMW shop will charge $100-$200 per hour for labor. Average mechanic labor charges are between $75-$130 for one hour of labor.

How Much Does It Cost to Get an Oil Change on a BMW?

Just what is the cost of BMW maintenance? Here’s the information on BMW oil change prices!

Average Oil Change Cost

The average cost for a BMW oil change is $150-$400, depending on the vehicle model and the dealership. This is a hefty price tag, especially if you compare it to a discounted oil change for a domestic vehicle.

X3 Oil Change Cost

The BMW X3 is a compact sports utility vehicle with 4 wheel drive capability. According to Repair Pal, the average cost for an oil change is between $192-$222. This includes $137-$153 for parts and $44-$69 for labor.

X5 Oil Change Cost

The X5 is BMW’s midsize SUV. It has similar oil needs to the X3 and also is about $190-$220 per oil change.

328i Oil Change Cost

This luxury sedan also comes with a hefty price tag for maintenance. Repair Pal estimates oil change price at $210-$243. Labor is $56-$70, and parts are $154-$172.

Can You Change BMW Oil Yourself?

You can, in fact, change your BMW’s oil yourself! It is a fairly simple process, and most car owners can complete the task in about an hour. The savings are significant! It should cost around $40-$80 to change the oil yourself.

Materials Needed

Step-by-Step Instructions:

  1. Lift the BMW with the car jacks – Secure it with the jacks, and allow the engine to completely cool.
  2. Set the parking brake – Keep the vehicle as secure as possible with the parking brake, then put the chocks behind the rear wheels.
  3. Locate the access panel – Remove the plastic engine panel.
  4. Drain the oil – Remove the engine bolt, and allow the oil to drain into the pan for at least 15 minutes.
  5. Replace the washer – Your new oil filter should come with a new washer. Place it on the drain bolt.
  6. Remove the filter – Use either a BMW oil filter tool or the oil filter wrench.
  7. Replace the ‘O’ rings – New ‘O’ rings should be included in your new filter kit.
  8. Install the filter – Torque it to 25 nM.
  9. Install the drain plug – Check your manual, and torque it according to the manual’s instructions. This is usually around 25 nM. Don’t forget the crush washer! If you do not use the crush washer, your oil could leak.
  10. Add the motor oil – Remove the oil fill cap, and start by adding 6 quarts of oil. Wait five minutes, then check the oil levels again. If your BMW does not have an oil dipstick, check the oil level on the instrument panel.
  11. Continue to add oil – Slowly add oil until the vehicle is at the correct oil level.
  12. Reset the oil service reminder – Lower the jacks, and remove the chocks. Start the vehicle, then reset the oil service reminder. This indicator pops up when the vehicle is due for an oil change. If you don’t reset it, it will continue to show on the instrument panel. Reset instructions vary by BMW model and year.

How Often Should I Get an Oil Change?

BMWs take full synthetic, high-performance oil. While standard oil needs to be changed about every 3,000 miles, BMWs can go much longer between oil changes. Check your owner’s manual.

For most newer BMW models, oil changes are recommended every 7,500-10,000 miles, but some can go up to 15,000 miles between changes! So, even though the oil changes on BMWs are more expensive, you can drive for a long time before you need another oil change.

However, if it has been at least one year since your last oil change, you should probably change the oil, no matter how many miles it has been.

Final Thoughts

A foreign, luxury car is expensive to maintain. Car owners should take this into account before they decide to get a car like a BMW. Expect to pay around $200 per oil change or change the oil yourself for a fraction of the cost. Either way, regular oil changes are important to maintain your engine’s integrity and longevity.

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About Steve Freling

Steve has worked for more than 20 years as an automotive mechanic, and later run his own repair shop for both cars and motorcycles. He's a maintenance freak, and generally pretty good at troubleshooting!

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